What happened to the characters in Growing Up Ivy, after the end of the book? To Ivy and Charlie, to the seemingly uncompromising Maud, and the irresponsible Frannie?
Because Ivy is still so real to me, I like to speculate, at times, about what happened to all these characters in the succeeding years.
Authors have to present the idea of an ending to their stories, but I know that life went on for Ivy, beyond the end of this book.
In one of the early versions, I began Growing Up Ivy with a flash forward scene. Ivy, Charlie and their adult children are sitting in the front row of an auditorium. The occasion is a ceremony where Ivy is to be presented with a distinguished award for literature.
The Master of Ceremonies is on the dias, giving his opening remarks, when the door at the back of the auditorium opens slowly. An older woman -- a faded beauty, you might say -- takes a few tentative steps inside. An usher hurries up the aisle toward her, hoping he can find a seat for her at the back as quickly as possible, so as not to disrupt the procedings.
"Is Ivy Chalmers here?" the woman whispers.
"Of course. She's the guest of honour." The usher has a firm hand under the woman's elbow as he attempts to steer her to the nearest seat.
"Could you point her out to me, please?" The small woman stands her ground. "It's been so long, I might not recognize her."
The woman is, of course, Frannie, Ivy's mother. I never used this scene because I thought it gave too much away. But it lingers in my mind. It suggests one way Ivy's personal story might have gone.